According to sources familiar with the situation, the Union Health Ministry has given the go-ahead to begin the preparatory work for the introduction of the indigenously developed world’s first DNA-based Covid jab, which will most likely be given to adults first as part of the country’s vaccination drive.
Following months of discussions with the government, Zydus Cadila has agreed to reduce the price of its COVID-19 vaccination to $265 per dosage.
The ZyCov-D vaccine from Zydus Cadila is the first to be approved by India’s medicines authority for vaccination of persons aged 12 and up.
Each dosage of the needle-free vaccination requires a disposable painless jet applicator, which costs $93 per dose, bringing the total cost to $358 per dose.
According to insiders, the Ahmedabad-based pharma firm had previously recommended a price of 1,900 for its three-dose regimen.
“Following repeated discussions by the government, the business has reduced the price to 358 for each dosage, which includes 93 for the cost of a disposable jet applicator,” a source familiar with the situation told news agency PTI.
The three doses will be given 28 days apart, with each dosage consisting of two shots in each arms.
On August 20, the drug regulator granted emergency use authorization to ZyCoV-D, the world’s first DNA-based needle-free COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are pleased to assist the government’s ZyCoV-D immunisation campaign. We expect that the needle-free vaccination will encourage many more people, particularly children and young adults aged 12 to 18, to get vaccinated and protect themselves against COVID-19 “Dr. Sharvil Patel, the company’s Managing Director, stated.
Meanwhile, the government is still awaiting advice from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) on whether or not ZyCoV-D should be included in the immunisation push for adults and children with co-morbidities.
The methodology and framework for introducing this vaccine in the COVID-19 vaccination effort will be provided by NTAGI.
Official sources previously said that the price of ZyCoV-D would be different from that of Covaxin and Covishield since it is a three-dose vaccination that requires an unique pharma jet injector for administration.
Around 20,000 dosages may be administered using one pharma jet injector.
“The jet applicator aids the vaccination fluid in penetrating the recipient’s epidermis and entering the recipient’s cells,” the source explained.
According to a source, Zydus Cadila can offer roughly two crore dosages in November.
For the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the government is now acquiring two more vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin.
Only individuals above the age of 18 are given Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V, and unlike ZyCoV-D, these are two-dose regimens.
So far, India has given out about 106 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The nationwide immunisation campaign began on January 16, with healthcare personnel being the first to get vaccinated. On February 2, frontline staff began receiving vaccinations.
The second phase of COVID-19 immunisation began on March 1 for persons over the age of 60 and those aged 45 and over who have certain co-morbid disorders.
From April 1, the country began vaccinating all adults above the age of 45. From May 1, the government decided to broaden its vaccination campaign by enabling anybody above the age of 18 to be vaccinated.